Tuesday, June 10, 2008

New Wine List and Oregon Pinot Noir

Decided to start a list of wines consumed weekly. You will be able to see the list on the left side of the blog. These are not wines I've tasted, but rather bottles consumed (no not by myself - geez, I'm not that bad). Tastings will be discussed in normal posts. I've not included any tasting note with them, just provided the list. If I didn't like something about a wine I tried, it's not included. Keep in mind I include quaffers (just to drink) wines as well as those I spent time getting to know while I drank them. There will be inexpensive and not so inexpensive wines listed. But, you should find something enjoyable to taste from the list.

Oregon Pinot Noir

One of my adopted nephews asked after reading this blog what Oregon Pinot under $20 I'd suggest. Here's my dilemma in answering his question - he wanted a burgundian-style pinot. Oregon, sadly, has gone the way of most of the new world wines...too much. Too much fruit, too big, too, too much.

The joy of the Oregon Pinots of the '70's and '80's has devolved to reflect pinots from other new world areas. Why? Was it the success of the movie Sideways? Was it the influx of California moving to Oregon? Was it the increasing demand of the untrained palette of the American middle class? I really don't know. What I do know is that Oregon wines have changed.

I've been here many years and have had the opportunity to drink some stellar Pinots. I was young then and didn't really understand what it was I was enjoying, but enjoy them I did. And when the wine cellar began it's existence, it was with the intent to store only Oregon wines. But then they started to change, subtlely, slowly. I also began to find wines that suited my palate better - they came from France, Italy, Spain...well to be succinct - old world wines.

I like my Pinots to have that wonderful earthy, black fruit where the oak doesn't overwhelm and it continues to develop in the glass. I do like the Burgundian-style Pinots. Less and less wines are made in that style here. They talk as if they are moving in that direction and, to be fair, perhaps some of the younger winemakers are following in the traditonal style. But way too many are very dark, tannic fruit bombs that overwhelm the palate. They don't tickle and wait for you to ask for more...they don't make you work to find what they are about - they just happen.

In addition, Oregon Pinot has been following the lead of Napa by posting bottle costs at extraordinary amounts. Insane. So not only do they not reflect what Oregon is capable of producing, but they cost an incredible amount! What is up with that? Domaine Serene are you listening??

That said, I did suggest a few wines for him to consider - remember these are between $18 and $25. There are more expensive Pinots that I do like - Domaine Drouhin, Ken Wright Canary Hills, Cameron - but these are good values for the money. Have fun finding and trying one of them:
  • McKinley Willamette Valley
  • Cameron Dundee Hills
  • J. Christopher Willamette Valley
  • Grochau Cellars Willamette Valley

No comments: